Eagles dim Quasars, 79-44
EDGERTON -- For Southwest Star Concept, it was a bad night to run into Southwest Christian's best defensive effort.
"This was probably one of our better defensive games that we've played all year," SWC head coach Jamie Pap said. "Defensively, we are finally coming around. It took us a while to get going this year, but we're getting real close."
SWC (8-1, 10-3) used solid defense and a deadly perimeter game to defeat SSC, 79-44, in a Red Rock Conference boys' basketball contest Monday.
"We're progressing real well," Pap said. "About two weeks ago I was a little frustrated. It was like we were staying at the same spot, and were not making that final step. But I think finally we're getting there. Things are coming around nice."
SSC did have an early lead, and was able to outshoot the Eagles from the free throw line. The Quasars (1-7, 5-9) converted 17-of-23 attempts from the line.
"That was part of our game plan," SSC head coach Tim Owen said. "They play so aggressive that if you sit back they are going to eat you up. So you have to attack, and that was part of what we wanted to do. Unfortunately, we did not convert as many as we probably needed to, but we did get to the line."
SWC, on the other hand, made just one free throw on two attempts. Those two attempts came from Nicholas Pfeifle in the finals 40 seconds of the game.
"We were hitting from the outside, so we weren't putting the ball on the floor as much as we maybe had to because we were hitting some 3s," Pap said. "To get to the free throw line we have to put the ball on the floor and attack a little more."
With SWC the bigger team, SSC played a defensive zone in the first half.
"We have a size mismatch obviously and that's a problem for us," Owen said. "So we have to decide if we want to risk man to man or if we're going to sit in a zone."
However, the plan backfired for the Quasars, as SWC made eight 3-pointers in the first half and had a 48-22 lead at the break.
"I figured that they'd sit in a zone, and if you shoot a little more outside it will open things up on the inside for us," Pap said. "Most people are keying up on (Alex) Huisken underneath, so we have to have some guys hit some outside shots to open it up for him."
Huisken, who was one of 12 Eagles to score, finished with 10 points, but Mike Vander Veen reaped benefits of the attention placed on Huisken -- making four 3-pointers in a 16-point effort.
Trevor Holm finished with 11 points, while Pfeifle ended with 10 for SWC.
SSC started the game with a basket from Logan Glaser and a free throw from Kirk McBreen to take an early 3-0 lead.
However, behind shots from Holm and Huisken and a trey from Ryan Pronk (nine points, five assists), SWC went on a 17-1 run to open up a 13-point lead.
After Ben Scheevel (14 points, nine rebounds) converted on a 3-point play to bring to score to 20-9 midway through the first half, the Eagles responded in a big way.
Consecutive baskets from Holm and another trey from Pronk started a 14-0 run to push the lead to 34-9 with five minutes remaining in the first half.
As teams traded baskets during the last five minutes, a trey from SWC's Derek Krosschell just before the buzzer gave the Eagles a 48-22 lead at the break.
Scheevel started the second half with another 3-point play to cut the lead to 23 points.
However, Rob Van Hofwegen hit a pair of baskets and Huisken hit a shot to push the lead back to 29 points.
Consecutive treys from Vander Veen gave SWC its biggest lead of the night at 66-36 with nine minutes remaining, but McBreen and Andrew Rossow cut the lead back to 26.
Unfortunately for the Quasars, that would be as close as the game would be as the Eagles closed out the 79-44 victory.
"I don't know if it's necessarily that we played poorly, they are just that good," Owen said. "They have a very nice basketball team. I'm pleased with our effort and our intensity was there. It's just on this night, they are a better team."
Even though SSC scored just 22 points in each half, Owen was pleased with how his team played in the second half.
"We were more aggressive and we attacked better. They take a lot away from you in the half court defense, and we struggled in the first half with that," Owen said. "It seemed like we were much more aggressive as far as a flow on offense in the second half. We picked up our intensity a little better defensively in the second half."
Both teams will be on the road in conference battles Friday. SSC will travel to Adrian, while SWC travels to Red Rock Central.
SSC 22 22 -- 44
SWC 48 31 -- 79
SSC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) McBreen 0-1-3-5, Pelzel 0-1-1-3, Scheevel 0-4-6-14, Rossow 0-1-0-2, Stenzel 0-2-0-4, Cranston 0-1-1-3, Glaser 0-1-1-3, Timko 0-4-1-9, Crocker 0-0-1-1. Totals 0-15-14-44
SWC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Pronk 3-0-0-9, Kooi 0-1-0-2, Van Schepen 0-2-0-4, Holm 1-4-0-11, Spronk 0-1-0-2, Krosschell 1-0-0-3, Vander Veen 4-2-0-16, Pfeifle 1-3-1-10, Huisken 0-5-0-10, Stroeh 0-2-0-4, Van Hofwegen 0-2-0-4, Mouw 0-2-0-4. Totals 10-24-1-79